Quite some time has passed since your final expedition, but new information has surfaced that we here at the Adventurers Club feel will leave you on the cusp of return. The wreck of the Julianne Rose has been discovered. And if that is not tantalizing enough news, the Rose Diamond itself is quite possibly among the wreckage. We know you spent your career in search of it, so we thought you might be interested in one, final adventure. It would be good to see you out on the seas once more, old friend.
Ray Copeland’s failing grades in English faded from memory when he read the fake adventure letter. He bought into the hope and optimism so much that he almost forgot that he’d written it. Would it revitalize his father? The elder Copeland had always loved old adventure tales, cryptic puzzles, and treasure maps.
“Now what in the hell do you think this means?” Bill Copeland asked. “I could build a house out of all the paper these scam artists have sent me trying to get me to buy this or sell that.”
“Dad, I don’t think they’re really asking for anything,” Ray said. “Isn’t that someone you know? Sounds like it could be some fun.”
It was a story of a wreck in the Baltic Sea on CNN that prompted Ray to surprise his father. The stories of his dad’s adventures with “war buddy,” John Wayne Hemingway, were legendary during Ray’s childhood. The raging intensity from each tale could have melted the paint right off of the family’s living room walls when the Old Man got going. The stories could not have been any more fantastic, and it didn’t even bother little Raymond that he was certain they weren’t true. It meant the world to him that his father would invent something just to entertain him.
And now he hoped to return the favor.
Based on the opaque veil of skepticism on his father’s face, the scheme wasn’t going well.
“You know, Dad, there’s a lot going on, none of it’s easy. Maybe it’s a blessing that you heard from your old pal, Hemingway.”
The paper and envelope took flight toward the trashcan as Bill sat down at the counter separating him from his son.
“Do you have any idea? Do you know what it’s like to know, to know with great certainty that every thing that you know is about to vanish? Every memory, every lesson…gone. Into the air. All of my dreams, poof! Gone. They don’t keep records of that kind of thing for me to just go and refresh myself with. Do you know that? No. You don’t. And I’m glad you don’t. I wouldn’t wish this upon Hitler himself, may he rot in the flames of seven hells.”
“It can’t be easy, Dad. I know that. I can’t pretend to know what you’re going through, but I do know it’s hard. I just thought that maybe a few of your dreams could be revisited in that letter. And I also know, if this moment is all I have with you, then, well, it’s got to be enough. I’ll do whatever I can for that.”
Ray’s hands shook now, feeling as if that tension was on its way back. With a firm hand, Bill reached across the cold white counter to rest his son’s hand from shaking.
“I know son. That is fantastic. It truly means the world to me.”
“I don’t appreciate being scammed though,” Bill said as he walked over to retrieve the letter. He folded the paper back up and returned it to its envelope, slamming it down on the counter that separated them.
“Lucky for us this is a verified letter from The Adventurers Club. Well, come on. We’re going to have to crack the code before we ever find the combination to the safe. There’s no sense in them diving down there for that thing without it,” he said.